Scot Mcknight has been hosting a long and thoughtful critique and conversation about the emergent movement over at the Jesus Creed.

Scot's much smarter than I am, so here's my short and blunt critique of the emergent movement.

It has two parts.

One, Emergent is becoming a brand, and like any brand, emergent is selling a story. The emergent story is something like this--we are the real Christians. We are not those other modernist, consumer Christians. They are fake. We are authentic. Jesus likes us better.

It's a fake, stonewashed authenticity, as Andy Crouch noted recently.

The Christian life is not authentic. It is smelly, messy, and annoying--and means sticking it out with all those other Christians who are getting wrong.

Two, the emergent movement mistakes ambiguity for a virtue.

The problem with modernity isn't certainty--it's pride. Pride in human accomplishment that blinds whole societies, and allows people to do imhumane and monstrous things because they are absolutely convinced of the rightness of cause.

The antidote is not ambiguity. Not being, as Brian Mclaren wants to be a missional, evangelical, post/protestant, liberal/conservative, mystical/poetic, biblical, charismatic/contemplative, fundamentalist/Calvinist, Anabaptist/angelical, Methodist, Catholic, green, incarnational, depressed but hopeful, emergent, unfinished Christian.

In other words, an ambigious Christian.

But the world doesn't need ambigious Christian. It needs humble and generous Christians, who accept each other's shortcoming, and who live their lives in service to their God and to their neighbor.

And that's the last word.


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